Aftermarket headlights are getting more popular because they are better in every way. That’s why I’d urge my Texan readers to switch to LEDs. But is it legal in there?
LED headlights are legal in Texas. However, not all LEDs are permitted according to Texas headlight laws.
So, what kind of LED headlights can get you in trouble? To answer all these questions, I’ve gone through the Texas laws regarding headlamps and the Texas Department of Public Safety. So, keep reading.
LED headlights are legal in Texas – With some exceptions
It doesn’t matter whether your vehicle has LED or halogen bulbs in Texas. All kinds of headlights have to follow the guidelines below to be street-legal:
- The headlights have to be DOT-approved.
- Headlamps can only be white, amber, or yellow!
These rules exclude the use of colored headlights for both LED and halogen options. You cannot have any aftermarket headlights that do not have DOT approval. Moreover, having blue, red, or other colors for your headlights is also illegal in Texas.
Legal color temperature in Texas
The color temperature (essentially the color) of headlights is an important thing to consider before installing LED bulbs.
When headlights reach above 6,000K, they emit blue light. Therefore, you should not get an LED headlight over 6,000K color temperature in Texas.
On the other hand, a lower color temperature produces a warmer light. You have to ensure that they do not get under 3,000K. Going below the warm yellow color temperature means your headlights will emit a bright orange color which isn’t suitable for Texas.
Therefore, the perfect range for LED headlight color temperature in Texas is 4,000-5,000K.
LED Brightness Laws
The federal law regarding the brightness of headlights states that your headlights cannot be brighter than 3,000 candelas.
As a result, LED headlights must be under 3,000 lumens to be legal in Texas.
Drivers like me have seen people switch to LEDs and pick the brightest option. It causes other drivers to get blinded by those bulbs.
Moreover, many new users don’t know how to adjust LED bulbs. As a result, their beam patterns get all messed up and point upwards, which can blind oncoming vehicles.
Aftermarket LEDs in Texas
No matter what aftermarket LED you purchase in Texas, it has to be DOT-approved to be street legal.
Interestingly, DOT-approved LEDs only come in white, yellow, or amber.
Also, if you switch from halogen to LEDs, there might be legality issues on rare occasions. I say “rare” because most automobiles nowadays come equipped with LED bulbs. As a result, it’s hard to understand which vehicle swapped from halogen to LED.
Why switch to LED?
LEDs are efficient, long-lasting, and whiter than halogen. Switching to LEDs can bring a lot of benefits to your daily driving. Here are some pointers you can consider:
- LED bulbs last 30,000 hours on average, making them the most long-lasting option.
- If you are a nighttime driver, LED bulbs are better because the white light makes everything more visible compared to yellow halogens.
- Regarding power consumption, LEDs are superior and the most efficient.
- Lastly, LED bulbs make your vehicle look more stylish and modern.
Here on Machine Tackle, I have always recommended LEDs over halogen and HID because they are good. Many of my readers don’t want to switch because of how CAN-Bus issues often occur on LEDs. But I still think the harder installation is worth it!
As you have read, there are no issues with LED headlights in Texas as long as they are DOT-approved. I’d recommend getting a Canbus-ready LED with around 5,000K color temperature.
Lastly, I would also recommend you install LEDs in your vehicle properly. A lot of drivers with LEDs have blinding lights pointing upwards. That’s why a lot of people have a distaste for LED users. Therefore, be cautious with your purchase, bulb installation, and alignment.
If you are a Texan, I’d like to ask what you think about the LED vs halogen debate. Which one would you pick?